To reach my current level of understanding of the nature and dynamic of transcendence has been a long and varied journey. My family has always said that I was, as a child, always asking ‘how?’ and ‘what?’, as any reasonably intelligent youngster will. As soon as I came across the term ‘seeker’ (before it became associated with a player of Quidditch, such as Harry Potter) I resonated with it. Like other Quakers, for example, seeking for a deeper meaning life, becomes part of life's purpose. I deliberately now refrain from describing it as a quest for a ‘higher truth’, since that implies a set of beliefs or values by which to live. Like many seekers and philosophical authors, I came to realise (after my first transcendent experiences), that truth is a ‘here and now’ thing that one feels and ‘knows’, rather than learns or believes. But the rational mind is still very much a part of Being human.
For others to appreciate the process by which I came to embrace both learnt and experienced knowledge, I’ll here share a little of my personal journey.
Whilst studying for ‘A’ Levels
This period taught me much, not least that I enjoyed teaching and was considered effective in running workshops, whether the subject was the principles of reliability or the prevention of Electrostatic Damage. Tasked with predicting the life-expectancy of our products I soon realised the limitations of simplistic models and lab tests and, by contrast, the value of ‘field’ data: how things worked and failed in real life. Now, as I apply the deep philosopher of ‘what it means to Be’, I'm reminded of the need to stay very rooted in the practical reality of the world around us!
By the mid-1990s I was finding little to interest me in the electronics industry and was ready for my first ‘leap-of-faith’. At the time I had been introduced to Reiki Healing and found that it was reconnecting me to facets of life that I had not previously been aware of: I would now call these ‘transcendent’. It was suggested that I train to be a Reiki Master-Teacher and a phase of ‘exploring the extraordinary’ began. As I practised and taught Reiki, so I also took an active part in the local holistic network and began to see the importance of topics spiritual and psychic, including complementary & alternative health and environmental issues. In meeting those involved I would often find a depth and authenticity sadly lacking in much of society at the time. Working to include holistic aspects at local events has always been a role that has been both enjoyable, rewarding and appreciated.
Thus another key ingredient to my personal journey is creativity and the arts. Having
been involved in amateur dramatics since undergraduate days, and more recently
with Morris dancing, the power of such activities to, again, connect us to a
depth and vitality of life, was making itself felt. I became a partner in Pintados Healing Art (with
If work and play have contributed to my growing awareness of the true depth of Being, so too has 'rest' been essential. The peace and solitude of the mountains of the Algarve, for example, enabled me to face many a personal demon.
Eventually, however, I realised
that ‘country lad’ as I was, I wasn’t really cut out to spend my days chain-sawing
eucalyptus trees to feed the word-burning stove: I need to engage with bright
minds as well as with nature. A few months (and synchronistic events) later
and I found myself registered on a PhD course at
In parallel with my PhD studies I worked upon and gained my PGCertHE (the UK's qualification for teaching at universities) and thus became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). My focus for my teaching practice and research, not surprisingly, was soft-skills and how they need to be taught. In completing this course I was impressed by the extend to which human emotional and creative abilities are being recognised in HE as vital transferable life-skills. As Student Experience and Employability become key objectives, so the need for experiential learning is also being promoted.
Having now reached some integration of the mystical with the intellectual in my own mind and life, so I see my role as ‘enabler’ for others on, or about to start, this journey . . . of transcendence.
* One of my electronics lecturers once described a valve thus: "a jam jar with a heater in the bottom” . Valves were what made televisions and radios work before the advent of silicon chips. By an interesting co-incidence, the 'silicon chip' is about he same age as I am! (See http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/kilbyctr/jackbuilt.shtml)